HIM's Georgina Wild looks at how to cater for children in c-stores.

What's your policy on children in your store? Only two kids in at a time, or your future customer base? Retailers' views of children are certainly mixed.

HIM is not allowed to interview under-16s, but we can tell you that 34% of adult c-shoppers have kids in their household. And in an investigation into the importance of kids conducted by HIM a few years ago, it showed that under-16s account for, or influence, about £1 in every £8 spent in c-stores.

HIM's Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP) 2009 tells us that 13% of adults were shopping to buy items which would then be consumed solely by children.

So which categories are most likely to be bought specifically for children? The answer is squash/cordial, multipacks of crisps, individual small bags of chocolate/sweets, frozen chips/vegetables, seasonal confectionery such as Easter eggs, cereal bars and individual ice lollies. So are you stocking brands in these categories?

The summer holidays will soon be over and then it's 'back to school'. This event alone accounts for £68m-worth of sales each September and it's an ideal opportunity to sell stationery and school accessories. But as well as these obvious items have you considered selling packed lunch accessories?

The demise of Woolworths has also left an opportunity for c-store retailers. How many stores now sell pick & mix? You could become the local sweetie emporium.

But independent retailers also have a responsibility to promote healthy food. We have heard of independent retailers building great relationships with local schools and showing groups how to make fruit fun for example, holding a demonstration on how to make your own smoothies.

You could also make an impression by stocking small milk cartons, fruit juices and waters.